Stratified coastal ocean interactions with tropical cyclones

Scott Glenn, Travis Miles, Greg Seroka
Rutgers University
Noon Mar 22 in Room 2155

Hurricane intensity forecast improvements currently lag the progress achieved for hurricane tracks. Integrated ocean observations and simulations during Hurricane Irene (2011) reveal that the wind-forced two-layer circulation of the stratified coastal ocean, and resultant shear-induced mixing, led to significant and rapid ahead-of-eye-centre cooling (at least 6 C and up to 11 C) over a wide swath of the Mid-Atlantic Bight continental shelf. Atmospheric simulations establish this cooling as the missing contribution required to reproduce Irene’s accelerated intensity reduction. Historical buoys from 1985 to 2015 show that ahead-of-eye-centre cooling occurred beneath all 11 tropical cyclones that traversed the Mid-Atlantic Bight continental shelf during stratified summer conditions. A Yellow Sea buoy similarly revealed significant and rapid ahead-of-eye-centre cooling during Typhoon Muifa (2011). These findings establish that including realistic coastal baroclinic processes in forecasts of storm intensity and impacts will be increasingly critical to mid-latitude population centres as sea levels rise and tropical cyclone maximum intensities migrate poleward. .